Bruken av overtredelsesgebyr i kritisk søkelys

28 Sep 2012

Sivilombudsmannen har på nytt kritisert Fiskeridirektoratet for dårlig saksbehandling ved utferdigelse av overtredelsesgebyr. Det er verd å merke seg samtidig som det samme direktoratet er gitt utvidet adgang til å […]

Sivilombudsmannen har på nytt kritisert Fiskeridirektoratet for dårlig saksbehandling ved utferdigelse av overtredelsesgebyr. Det er verd å merke seg samtidig som det samme direktoratet er gitt utvidet adgang til å gi gebyrer også overfor fiskerinæringen.

Overtredelsesgebyr er straffegebyrer som utferdiges av Fiskeridirektoratet. Det er en form for straff, og det er i mindre alvorlige saker akseptert at slike gebyrer kan utferdiges av fagmyndigheter og ikke påtalemyndigheter.

Slike gebyrer utferdiges i stadig flere saker. Det er en effektiv form for sanksjonering sett fra fiskerimyndighetenes side. I stedet for å oversende saken til påtalemyndigheter som ikke alltid gjør som fiskerimyndighetene ønsker, kan de ferdigbehandle sakene selv.

Slike gebyrer er brukt i flere år i oppdrettsnæringen, og er nå også introdusert i den tradisjonelle fiskerinæringen. En forskrift om bruk av tvangsmulkt og overtredelsesgebyr ved brudd på havressursloven trådte i kraft 1. mars i år. Her gis fiskeridirektoratets regionkontor adgang til å utferdige overtredelsesgebyr på inntil kr. 100.000,-. Forskriften inneholder en liste over de bestemmelsene som kan utløse overtredelsesgebyr dersom de overtres. Det er særlig brudd på ulike regler om rapporterings- og opplysningsplikt som kan gi grunnlag for gebyr.

Det å ilegge straff er alltid en alvorlig sak, og det må derfor settes strenge krav til saksbehandling og begrunnelse for slike vedtak. Som advokat i næringen ser man dessverre alt for ofte at direktoratets saksbehandling er for dårlig. Det ser vi særlig fordi vedtakenes innhold ofte er mangelfulle og preget av større og mindre misforståelser.

Det er derfor positivt at Sivilombudsmannen i den senere tid har kommet med flere avgjørelser med kritiske merknader til dårlig saksbehandling i Fiskeridirektoratet. Den siste saken er publisert 17. august på www.sivilombudsmannen.no. Ombudsmannen ber her direktoratet om å behandle et vedtak på nytt på grunn av mangler i saksbehandlingen.

Saken dreier seg om flytting av fortøyningene til et oppdrettsanlegg. Den aktuelle oppdretteren la ut nye fortøyninger etter at noen av de gamle fortøyningene ble skadet i uvær. De nye fortøyningene ble liggende litt utenfor det området som var reservert for oppdrettsanlegget.

Fiskeridirektoratets regionkontor ila et overtredelsesgebyr på kr. 421.536 (6 G) for brudd på laksetildelingsforskriftens regler om lokalitetsklarering ved utlegging av nye fortøyninger. Vedtaket ble påklaget til direktoratet sentralt og de reduserte gebyret til det halve. (kr. 210.768 (3 G)). Vedtaket ble også endret ved at klageorganet mente at regelbruddet bestod i at man ikke hadde varslet fiskerimyndighetene om de flyttede fortøyningene etter at det hadde skjedd. Selve utleggingen av fortøyningene mente direktoratet var lovlig siden det dreide seg om en nødssituasjon.

Sivilombudsmannen kritiserer Fiskeridirektoratet fordi begrunnelsen for sanksjonsvedtaket er for enkel. Det understrekes særlig at man i saker som i realiteten dreier seg om straffeutmåling må sette ”særlige krav til forsvarlig saksbehandling”. Etter min oppfatning går det klart frem at Sivilombudsmannen synes en økonomisk straff på over kr. 200.000,- er urimelig strengt for et så beskjedent regelbrudd som dette. Konklusjonen er som nevnt at Sivilombudsmannen ber direktoratet om å behandle saken på nytt.

Om forfatteren

Halfdan Mellbye
Halfdan Mellbye Halfdan Mellbye har i 25 år arbeidet med ulike juridiske problemstillinger innenfor fiskeri- og havbruksnæringen. Han har blant annet arbeidet svært mye med næringsreguleringsspørmål og han har i tillegg særlig gode kunnskaper om de biologiske og miljømessige utfordringene for næringsutøverne. Han har i en årrekke vært faglig ansvarlig for faget Havbruksjus ved Universitetet i Bergen. Han har nylig utgitt boken "Rettslig regulering av norsk akvakultur" som er utgitt på Universitetsforlaget 2018. Halfdan har møterett for Høyesterett.

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